Feds slam Washington State long-term care facility

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Photo of a wheelchair casting a shadow on a tile floor.

40,000 violations of federal law

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released the results of an investigation into Spokane County’s Lakeland Village, finding that the facility committed more than 40,000 violations of federal law in regard to the transfer of 27 residents.

Lakeland Village is one of Washington State’s four Residential Habilitation Centers, the state’s largest institutional facilities. In 2010, the center transferred 27 residents from its Intermediate Care Facility, which provides specialized services to people with developmental disabilities, to a regular nursing facility.

Disability Rights Washington conducted an investigation and alerted the CMS to alleged violations. In a letter released November 7, the CMS found that all 27 transfers were made even though “the state made no argument and presented no evidence that any of the transferred clients had any significant improvements.”

“We find that the transfer was primarily motivated by economic concerns and was not based on the residents welfare and the residents need,” the CMS stated in a letter.

The CMS also found that Lakeland Village failed to provide adequate notice to any of the residents. Upon transfer, each of the residents merely received a form letter, with no individualized explanation for the decision.

At the nursing facilities, none of the residents were properly screened or evaluated. For the past three years, they have not received the specialized services they received in the intermediate care facility.

According to the CMS, Lakeland Village is committing a violation of federal law every day that it is failing to either provide the residents the specialized services, or place them in an “appropriate setting.”

“They didn’t just stall out as stage three of a 10-step process of reintegrating into society,” David Carlson,  for Disability Rights Washington’s director of legal advocacy, told the Seattle Times. “They go back to zero. It’s really appalling.”

Disability Rights Washington, the publisher of this DisAbility Galaxy website, is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.